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How To Control Leaf SpotLeaf Spot

Have you noticed that your once beautiful looking lawn is plagued by grass blades which have unsightly spots on them? This is the symptom which occurs from a disease-causing fungus known as Helminthosporium. However, the common (and much more pronounceable) name is referred to as leaf spot.

Leaf spot is a fungal disease characterized by grass blades having small oval spots with straw-colored centers and maroon borders. These infected areas start to turn yellow and die before long and gives the appearance that your lawn is not being watered enough. However, you shouldn’t be fooled, as water won’t fix this issue which, if left untreated can spread and damage your lawn considerably.

Leaf spot typically occurs in the spring or the fall season. There is another lawn disease that is associated with leaf spot called “melting out” and they practically go hand in hand as the leaf spot disease is usually the precursor for melting out which happens in the summer where the spots turn to rot or death of the roots.

If your yard’s turf comes down with leaf spot, it’d be wise to act quickly to eradicate it before it takes over and kills your lawn. At Solutions Pest and Lawn we have all the products you need to overcome your leaf spot problem.

Browse our leaf spot control products below. If you need help making an order or would like DIY advice or any questions answered, send them our way via email, phone, or online live chat and we will be happy to assist you.

How To Get Rid of Leaf Spot: 3 Step Solution

Treating a lawn disease like leaf spot can be quite difficult to treat without the proper application products and treatment approach to combat the disease. However, even if you buy quality products to treat leaf spot, merely spraying a fungicide around on the turf is not enough to alleviate the problem. The most important factor in treating a lawn disease is timing. Identifying and treating a fungus like leaf spot early can save your lawn and garden. Below we have outlined 3 basic steps to follow to successfully conduct a DIY treatment to neutralize leaf spot.

Step 1: To begin with you first need to be sure that the disease is for certain leaf spot.  We’ve described how it looks above but if you are not entirely sure that you have leaf spot, you can get in touch with us and take a photo of the grass and send to identification@solutionsstores.com and we will respond back with a correct ID of the fungus and recommend you products and tips to treat the disease correctly.

Step 2: Once you are for certain you are dealing with leaf spot, you can then equip yourself with the right fungicides to eliminate it. We have a number of different concentrates which we carry in stock which can effectively remove leaf spot from your lawn. The key is to act fast. Equip yourself with a hand-pump sprayer and mix the concentrate according to the label. Spray liberally over the infected plants and check back to see if the product is working.
You may have to re-apply fungicides a few times to provide continuous control of anthracnose. Retreat if you begin to see symptoms again. We also suggest wearing the proper safety equipment for the job to prevent chemicals from coming in contact with your eyes or skin. Gloves, safety goggles and long sleeved clothing should suffice.

Step 3: Once the leaf spot has been cleared from your lawn, you must work to keep the disease from returning by establishing a regular lawn maintenance routine. Keeping plants healthy by providing proper light, water and fertilizer will strengthen the plant’s ability to ward off lawn disease.

Learn More About Leaf Spot

It can happen to any homeowner or gardener. One moment you go out to admire your yards beautiful greenery and you immediately notice that something isn’t right. Your once green and healthy leaves have been overcome by unsightly looking dark to brown colored spots. You’ve been watering and treating your plants right so you may be wondering what the deal is.

Even the most health conscious and active gardener can potentially have their plant life suffer from a lawn disease known as leaf spot on their trees and shrubs. The leaf spot feels like it appears from out of nowhere, all of a sudden rearing its ugly head in the form of brown or black splotches on leaves. Defoliation is also another common occurrence from this ailment.

In fact, leaf spot is such a common problem that it’s hard to find a residential owner that won’t have at least one issue on their landscape that stems from leaf spot.

What Is The Cause of Leaf Spot?

Leaf spot is a turf disease caused by fungus. The disease cycle can start out as blotches or spots, on grass blades or leaves and degrade into rot or death of the plant at the roots known as melting out, which is an alternate disease caused by the same group of fungi that leaf spot derives from.

Leaf spot and melting out are regularly mentioned together. Melting out happens when a plant begins to form reddish brown color on sheaths, crowns, and other structures of the plant. The plant will yellow, wilt, and die, rotting at the base of the plant.

In the event that you don't control leaf spot early on when it has appeared, before long you can see your turf and plants dying.

Signs of Leaf Spot

Symptoms of leaf spot vary depending upon what caused the fungus to arrive to the land. Although leaf spots can be caused by air pollutants, insects and bacteria among other factors, most of the time it is due to an infection by pathogenic fungi. Once the pathogen comes into contact with the leaf, the fungi will begin to grow resulting in the destruction of leaf tissue

Leaf spots can range in size from that of a pinhead to spots that overtake the entire leaf. Dead areas on the leaves are usually brown, black, tan or reddish in color. On some occasions, the dead or rotting areas will have a red or purple border. Part or the entire plant can potentially defoliate if the conditions are ideal for the fungus to continue growing without a hinderance.

Have A Lawn Problem Other Than Leaf Spot? Check out Our Lawn Care Main Category!

The Leaf Spot Life Cycle

Most leaf spot fungi have a common life cycle. The fungal pathogen which causes leaf spot survives over the winter on fallen leaves. Once spring arrives, after a period of rainfall, spores produced by the fungus are released and carried by the wind and splashing rain to newly emerging leaves.

The leaf spot spore germinates and penetrates these young tender leaves and infects them. Within the span of few days to several weeks, depending on temperature, small spots will began to show up on the leaves. As the fungus festers, the spots grow bigger. The fungus in the spots may produce more spores. These spores are capable of causing secondary infections on other leaves.

Typically, the leaf spot fungi are favored by cool, moist weather early in the growing season. Leaf spot diseases are hardly a problem when the climate is warm and dry.

Make Sure You Have The Right Equipment For The Job. SHOP For Sprayers and Other Lawn Care Essentials

Plants Which Can Be Infected By Leaf Spot

Nearly all tree types and shrubs are capable of potentially coming under attack by one or more leaf spot causing fungi. Although coniferous trees, like needled evergreens, can be significantly damaged by leaf spot fungi, it is quite rare for them to be attacked in their older years. Therefore, control measures are rarely needed.

Many different fungi cause a variety of symptoms on hardwood trees and shrubs. Oak, maple, sycamore, ash, walnut, hickory and horse chestnut are some trees commonly attached by the anthracnose fungi.

Anthracnose is caused by several species of closely related to leaf spot fungus which produce brown or black lesions on leaves. Distortion of the leaves and defoliation usually occurs. Another leaf spot fungus will often completely defoliate susceptible hawthorn trees like Paul's scarlet and English varieties by midsummer.

Another close cousin of leaf spot known as leaf blister can infect oak trees especially during cool, wet spring weather. Many circular raised blisters are scattered over individual leaves. Although unsightly, there is little or no damage to affected trees. Symptoms of fungal leaf spots on elms vary from small, black, pinhead lesions to brown blotches covering an extensive portion of the leaf.

There can be as much as ten different leaf spot fungi found on the rhododendron tree. While they do not look pleasant to the eye, they rarely cause serious injury. The above are a few of the hundreds of leaf spot problems likely to be witnessed or encountered by a residential landscaper.

Inspecting For Leaf Spot

As is the case for most lawn and fungal disease, it is better and easier to prevent them from appearing on your lawn than trying to get rid of them after they have been established. Proper lawn care tasks will help to keep your lawn healthy and looking its best, and you will be more aware of when your lawn isn't thriving.

Regularly monitoring your lawn will help you to pin down any issues which arise, such as the yellowing of grass and the dark spots that come with leaf spot.

A thorough inspection will allow you to take early action to stop leaf spot fungus before it becomes a major problem and spreads throughout your yard.

Using the descriptions we have laid out above of leaf spot symptoms, you should observe your lawn turf and plants closely for small brown spots on affected leaves that will increase in size as the disease progresses.

You may also notice spots which gradually grow in size and may have yellow or purple borders, converging into larger discolored patches until the whole leaf dies out.

Aside from these symptoms, you may also observe wet, decaying grass near the roots. This is not leaf spot but is melting out, a separate but related disease that often goes hand in hand with a leaf spot outbreak.

Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Spraying

Options For Leaf Spot Control

Usually, when a homeowner notices that there is a leaf spot problem, they become alarmed and hasty in wanting to get rid of it. We’ve had many customers talk with us about their experiences with leaf spot and how they initially ran for the sprayer and quickly used a chemical to treat the infected tree. Without arming yourself with proper knowledge of the disease and what products work best against it, time and money are wasted doing this.

What’s interesting to note is that most trees and shrubs have learned to live with leaf spot diseases. Even severe defoliation will not result in the death of an otherwise healthy tree. Also, by the time symptoms of leaf spot are obvious, it is often too late to apply a preventative chemical to control leaf spot.

Trees, which are subject to serious injury when attacked by a leaf spot fungus, are trees which are usually under a lot of stress. This stress may be because the tree was recently transplanted, was growing under drought conditions or trees weakened by tree attacking insects. The additional stress of a leaf spot disease on an already weak tree may cause permanent injury or death.

In these cases, chemical control of leaf spots is often recommended in the springtime. In order to be effective, the proper fungicide must be applied as a protectant before the fungus spore is spread to the leaf. Most leaf spot fungi infect trees early in the spring just as the leaves are starting to emerge.

Successful control usually requires two or three spray applications. Typically, the first treatment should be applied when the bud is breaking and the second should be down 1 to 2 weeks later.  A third spray may be necessary, particularly if there has been a lot of rainfall. The more rain the more frequent the spray applications will have to be done.

Since many of the leaf spot fungi over-winter on fallen leaves, one cultural practice of reducing the severity of leaf spots is to rake and remove from your yard of leaf litter and old leaves under the tree. This will reduce the number of fungal spores available to infect developing leaves when spring arrives.

Getting rid of old leaves is not likely to be effective if leaves from the same species of tree or shrub in your area are not removed because spores of most of the leaf spot fungi can be wind disseminated from long distances.

With a combination of cultural practices and solid chemical control using professional fungicides from Solutions Pest & Lawn, you can successfully overcome leaf spot on your property.

Additional Resources:

PDF on Leaf Spot and Melting Out Leaf Spot/Melting Out - Purdue Extension - Purdue University

Leaf spot and melting out in turf - University of Minnesota Extension

Leaf Spot and Rust Diseases of Turfgrasses - Alabama Cooperative



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